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Sounds8

2006-07-29 00:22

  I rejoice that there are owls.  Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men.  It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized.  They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have.  All day the sun has shone on the surface of some savage swamp, where the single spruce stands hung with usnea lichens, and small hawks circulate above, and the chickadee lisps amid the evergreens, and the partridge and rabbit skulk beneath; but now a more dismal and fitting day dawns, and a different race of creatures awakes to express the meaning of Nature there.

  Late in the evening I heard the distant rumbling of wagons over bridges —— a sound heard farther than almost any other at night ——the baying of dogs, and sometimes again the lowing of some disconsolate cow in a distant barn-yard.  In the mean-while all the shore rang with the trump of bullfrogs, the sturdy spirits of ancient wine-bibbers and wassailers, still unrepentant, trying to sing a catch in their Stygian lake —— if the Walden nymphs will pardon the comparison, for though there are almost no weeds, there are frogs there —— who would fain keep up the hilarious rules of their old festal tables, though their voices have waxed hoarse and solemnly grave, mocking at mirth, and the wine has lost its flavor,and become only liquor to distend their paunches, and sweet intoxication never comes to drown the memory of the past, but mere saturation and waterloggedness and distention.  The most aldermanic,with his chin upon a heart-leaf, which serves for a napkin to his drooling chaps, under this northern shore quaffs a deep draught of the once scorned water, and passes round the cup with the ejaculation tr-r-r-oonk, tr-r-r——oonk, tr-r-r-oonk! and straightway comes over the water from some distant cove the same password repeated, where the next in seniority and girth has gulped down to his mark; and when this observance has made the circuit of the shores, then ejaculates the master of ceremonies, with satisfaction,tr-r-r-oonk! and each in his turn repeats the same down to the least distended, leakiest, and flabbiest paunched, that there be no mistake; and then the howl goes round again and again, until the sun disperses the morning mist, and only the patriarch is not under the pond, but vainly bellowing troonk from time to time, and pausing for a reply.

  I am not sure that I ever heard the sound of cock-crowing from my clearing, and I thought that it might be worth the while to keep a cockerel for his music merely, as a singing bird.  The note of this once wild Indian pheasant is certainly the most remarkable of any bird's, and if they could be naturalized without being domesticated, it would soon become the most famous sound in our woods, surpassing the clangor of the goose and the hooting of the owl; and then imagine the cackling of the hens to fill the pauses when their lords' clarions rested!  No wonder that man added this bird to his tame stock —— to say nothing of the eggs and drumsticks. To walk in a winter morning in a wood where these birds abounded,their native woods, and hear the wild cockerels crow on the trees,clear and shrill for miles over the resounding earth, drowning the feebler notes of other birds —— think of it!  It would put nations on the alert.  Who would not be early to rise, and rise earlier and earlier every successive day of his life, till he became unspeakably healthy, wealthy, and wise?  This foreign bird's note is celebrated by the poets of all countries along with the notes of their native songsters.  All climates agree with brave Chanticleer.  He is more indigenous even than the natives.  His health is ever good, his lungs are sound, his spirits never flag.  Even the sailor on the Atlantic and Pacific is awakened by his voice; but its shrill sound never roused me from my slumbers.  I kept neither dog, cat, cow,pig, nor hens, so that you would have said there was a deficiency of domestic sounds; neither the churn, nor the spinning-wheel, nor even the singing of the kettle, nor the hissing of the urn, nor children crying, to comfort one.  An old-fashioned man would have lost his senses or died of ennui before this.  Not even rats in the wall, for they were starved out, or rather were never baited in —— only squirrels on the roof and under the floor, a whip-poor-will on the ridge-pole, a blue jay screaming beneath the window, a hare or woodchuck under the house, a screech owl or a cat owl behind it, a flock of wild geese or a laughing loon on the pond, and a fox to bark in the night.  Not even a lark or an oriole, those mild plantation birds, ever visited my clearing.  No cockerels to crow nor hens to cackle in the yard.  No yard! but unfenced nature reaching up to your very sills.  A young forest growing up under your meadows, and wild sumachs and blackberry vines breaking through into your cellar; sturdy pitch pines rubbing and creaking against the shingles for want of room, their roots reaching quite under the house.  Instead of a scuttle or a blind blown off in the gale —— a pine tree snapped off or torn up by the roots behind your house for fuel.  Instead of no path to the front-yard gate in the Great Snow—— no gate —— no front-yard —— and no path to the civilized world.

  我觉得有猫头鹰是可喜的。让它们为人类作白痴似的狂人嚎叫。这种声音最适宜于白昼都照耀不到的沼泽与阴沉沉的森林,使人想起人类还没有发现的一个广大而未开化的天性。它可以代表绝对愚妄的晦暗与人人都有的不得满足的思想。整天,太阳曾照在一些荒野的沼泽表面,孤零零的针枞上长着地衣,小小的鹰在上空盘旋,而黑头山雀在常春藤中蹑嚅而言,松鸡、兔子则在下面躲藏着;可是现在一个更阴郁、更合适的白昼来临了,就有另外一批生物风云际会地醒来,表示了那里的大自然的意义。

  夜深后,我听到了远处车辆过桥,——这声音在夜里听起来最远不过——还有犬吠声,有时又听到远远的牛棚中有一条不安静的牛在叫。同时,湖滨震荡着青蛙叫声,古代的醉鬼和宴饮者的顽固的精灵,依然不知悔过,要在他们那像冥河似的湖上唱轮唱歌,请瓦尔登湖的水妖原谅我作这样的譬喻,因为湖上虽没有芦苇,青蛙却是很多的,——它们还乐于遵循它们那古老宴席上那种嚣闹的规律,虽然它们的喉咙已经沙哑了,而且庄重起来了,它们在嘲笑欢乐,酒也失去了香味,只变成了用来灌饱它们肚子的料酒,而醺醺然的醉意再也不来淹没它们过去的回忆,它们只觉得喝饱了,肚子里水很沉重,只觉得发胀。当最高头儿的青蛙,下巴放在一张心形的叶子上,好像在垂涎的嘴巴下面挂了食巾,在北岸下喝了一口以前轻视的水酒,把酒杯传递过去,同时发出了托尔——尔——尔——龙克,托尔——尔——尔——龙克,托尔——尔——尔——龙克!的声音,立刻,从远处的水上,这口令被重复了,这是另一只青蛙,官阶稍低,凸起肚子,喝下了它那一口酒后发出来的,而当酒令沿湖巡行了一周,司酒令的青蛙满意地喊了一声托尔——尔——尔——龙克,每一只都依次传递给最没喝饱的、漏水最多的和肚子最瘪的青蛙,一切都没有错;于是酒杯又一遍遍地传递,直到太阳把朝雾驱散,这时就只有可敬的老青蛙还没有跳到湖底下去,它还不时地徒然喊出托尔龙克来,停歇着等口音。

  我不清楚在林中空地上,我听过金鸡报晓没有,我觉得养一只小公鸡很有道理,只是把它当作鸣禽看待,为了听它的音乐公鸡从前是印第安野鸡,它的音乐确是所有禽帼之中最了不起的,如果能不把它们变为家禽而加以驯化的话,它的音乐可以立刻成为我们的森林中最著名的音乐,胜过鹅的叫声,猫头鹰的嚎哭;然后,你再想想老母鸡,在她们的夫君停下了号角声之后,她们的噪聒填满了停顿的时刻!难怪人类要把这一种鸟编入家禽中间去——更不用说鸡蛋和鸡腿来了。在冬天的黎明,散步在这一种禽鸟很多的林中,在它们的老林里,听野公鸡在树上啼叫出嘹亮而尖锐的声音,数里之外都能听到,大地为之震荡,一切鸟雀的微弱的声音都给压倒——你想想看!这可以使全国警戒起来,谁不会起得更早,一天天地更早,直到他健康、富足、聪明到了无法形容的程度呢?全世界诗人在赞美一些本国鸣禽的歌声的同时,都赞美过这种外国鸟的乐音。任何气候都适宜于勇武金鸡的生长,他比本上的禽鸟更土。它永远健康,肺脏永远茁壮,它的精神从未衰退过。甚至大西洋、太平洋上的水手都是一听到它的声音就起身,可是它的啼叫从没有把我从沉睡中唤醒过。狗、猫、牛、猪、母鸡这些我都没有喂养,也许你要说我缺少家畜的声音;可是我这里也没有搅拌奶油的声音,纺车的声音,沸水的歌声,咖啡壶的咝咝声,孩子的哭声等等来安慰我,老式人会因此发疯或烦闷致死的。连墙里的耗子也没有,它们都饿死了,也许根本没有引来过,——只有松鼠在屋顶上,地板下,以及梁上的夜鹰,窗下一只蓝色的悭鸟,尖叫着,屋下一只兔子或者一只土拨鼠,屋后一只叫枭或者猫头鹰,湖上一群野鹅,或一只哗笑的潜水鸟,还有入夜吠叫的狐狸。甚至云雀或黄鹂都没有,这些柔和的候鸟从未访问过我的林居。天井里没有雄鸡啼叫也没有母鸡噪聒。根本没有天井!大自然一直延伸到你的窗口。就在你的窗下,生长了小树林,一直长到你的窗楣上。野黄栌树和黑莓的藤爬进了你的地窖;挺拔的苍松靠着又挤着木屋,因为地位不够,它们的根纠缠在屋子底下。不是疾凤刮去窗帘,而是你为了要燃料,折下屋后的松枝,或拔出树根!大雪中既没有路通到前庭的门,——没有门,——没有前庭,——更没有路通往文明世界!

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